I’ve conducted a lot of research recently into what it takes to become a successful futures gambler in playoff hockey. The overwhelming statistic that most of these guys look at is the goal differential that a team has heading into the post-season. At first glance you may look and see that The Flyers have a pretty low differential for a playoff team at -4, ahead of only the Detroit Red Wings who have one of -13.
I wanted to take a closer look at these numbers from a more relevant time period, as teams definitely can get hot at the perfect time or cold at the worst. So what I have done is teased out that goal differential from March 1st onwards to really show who is hot or cold coming into the post season.
I decided to first break down those results with first round match-ups and see who the likely winners of each series are going to be.
Florida Panthers +11 vs New York Islanders -6.
That is a 17 point better team coming into a series. I would have to say Florida should win this round in 5-6 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning +2 vs Detroit Red Wings -11.
Another pretty big swing, but Tampa Bay has a serious injury issue, still I think they will take it in 7.
Pittsburgh Penguins +34 vs New York Rangers -2.
Far be it from me to want to have anything nice to say about the Penguins ever, but they are crushing it down the stretch and New York isn’t even breaking even, 5 games or a sweep would not surprise me.
Last but not least (especially for us) Philadelphia Flyers +11 vs Washington Capitals -1.
This appears to be the most shocking line. The Capitals are a beast of a team this year but have hit a cold streak in the run up to the Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Flyers who to the outside world backed into the playoffs against the Penguins farm team are second only to the Pens down the stretch. I think the Flyers will win this in 6 or 7.
What about the West? Who cares about those guys right? Well let’s just take a look anyway.
Dallas Stars +15 vs Minnesota Wild +5.
That’s 10 points and a home advantage to the Stars that should see them wrap it up in 6 games.
St Louis Blues +20 vs Chicago Blackhawks -1.
The Blackhawks not doing well coming into the playoffs is something we are not yet accustomed to to, but there it is. I would expect the Blues to pull off the series in 5 or 6 games.
Anaheim Ducks +17 vs Nashville Predators +4.
Given the Ducks start, I don’t think many people had them in the dance at all early on, but I would look for them to win the series in 5-6 games.
LA Kings +8 vs San Jose Sharks +10.
That is a slim margin and LA is at home. I expect this series to go to 7, and even though it is “against the numbers” I would think the Kings could pull it off.
It would be nice if I could take this data and just run all the way through the playoffs and just know who would win. I mean clearly it would be a Pittsburgh vs Blues series. But this is the playoffs and one series at a time is the best way to take it.
With the emotional blow the Flyers received yesterday and having something so deep and meaningful to play for, it would not at all surprise me to see them take their physical play and use it to slow down the speedy Penguins to win a second round series. I have a hard time looking that far ahead though. So let’s just get this Caps series in the bag before even thinking about round 2. Let’s just use this round to #winonemorefored.
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